ICC Magazine - Page 13

I n another case, a choir performed at Lutherwood, a residential treatment for adolescents, right before Christmas. “The ICC singers saw that their peers at Lutherwood face some really challenging situations at home. It struck a chord because here it was at the holiday season, and the kids at Lutherwood didn’t have a home to go to,” said Don Steffy, executive director of the Indianapolis Children’s Choir. “So the singers came to their director and asked if, as part of Children Helping Children, they could do something more to help.” The ICC learned that Lutherwood’s greatest need was for pajamas, socks, and underwear. ICC students collected bags and bags of these items, and they have continued this collection each December. In another story, an ICC book drive filled an entire library at a new IPS school that was opening in a lowincome neighborhood of Indianapolis. Another time, an ICC choir assembled 1,000 winter homeless kits in just a couple of hours. Five years after its inception, Children Helping Children has grown into a mainstay of the ICC experience. ICC choirs participate in Indy Do Day every year and continue to look for ways to engage with and serve the community; in so doing, they discover the value of community involvement and volunteerism. Children Helping Children also helps ICC singers by integrating projects into community service requirements that students already have through school or honor societies. All in all, participating in the ICC helps young people learn what life looks like for children and teens not only in different countries through tours, but just a few miles away in their own cities. ICC Executive Director Don Steffy shares ICC’s impact on Indianapolis “That spirit of giving back is really strong with the ICC, because it enriches the experience of not only of ICC but students’ musicality as a whole,” said Steffy. “When our students sing music or when they’re reading texts, they start to relate some of these other experiences into the fabric of their singing and it becomes even stronger.” Elevating the Profile of Indianapolis In addition to engaging with local organizations, the Indianapolis Children’s Choir is raising the profile of Indianapolis by contributing to its reputation as a city with a world-class arts scene. “When people look at moving to Indianapolis, they look at the job market, the housing, the transportation, but they also have families and look for cultural activities where they can engage,” explained Steffy. “We have fantastic cultural institutions: the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, the Indiana Repertory Theatre, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, and—of course— the Indianapolis Children’s Choir. All of these arts institutions make Indianapolis an attractive place to live and work.” For those who are born and raised in central Indiana, teaching Hoosier children to appreciate the arts helps build a stronger society for tomorrow. “If you don’t have the arts, the community dies, right?” said Turae Dabney. “I think the arts help us to express ourselves in different ways, and if we don’t express ourselves in productive ways, we see consequences. When I think about music, I think about the arts impacting our community in a different way.” 13